Fail to renew nine more players’ contracts
MASERU- Kick4Life FC will not renew contracts for nine of its players that expired during the on-going COVID-19 prompted national lockdown and suspension of sports activities, this paper can reveal. Affairs at the Police Europa based club have, in recent months, spiralled out of control as the team and the academy it is housed in began to feel the impact of the global pandemic and its resultant social and financial challenges – which forced the indefinite suspension of the national Econet Premier League (EPL) in March.
Kick4Life FC Media Officer, Reitumetse Tlopo, confirmed this week that the club was in dire straits and could not afford to re-engage out-of-contract players. He admitted at the moment there were nine players whose engagement expired between May and June this year, though he was not in a position to name them. “The contracts of three of our players expired in May, and six more in the just-ended month (June),” said Tlopo speaking to Public Eye on Monday.
“I should, however, emphasise that the contracts are not being renewed out of malice or funny intents, or because we just don’t to…we are not in a position to renew any contract of any of our footballers at Kick4Life because of financial constraints brought about by the COVID-19 impact,” he continued. Tlopo said the Coronavirus lockdown made things difficult for the club, and that it made no financial sense to hold on to the players they could not afford to pay and “whose contracts have expired anyway.”
“The current situation is not favourable to anybody anywhere in the world and as a club we are feeling the impact so much that we can’t even draw future plans since no one knows how long this will last,” he said. These developments after the club released three foreign players, namely Innocent Ncala Matlapeng, Teboho Ramothobi and Nkopane Tabi. The three South African nationals were handed their clearance certificates about two months ago. But Tlopo insisted that contrary to widespread perceptions at the time the intention was not just to off-load their foreign legion, maintaining his club could not afford to keep them owing to the current situation.
“I should again put it on record that we did not really get rid of those players who were given clearances, we didn’t want to keep them for nothing as players expect to be paid at the end of every month,” Tlopo said. “This was a way of giving them an opportunity to join other teams who may be interested in them.” Kick4Life has, since the dawn of the COVID-19 era, also parted ways with Coach Katiso Mojakhomo and their long-time Football Director Chris Bullock. Bullock’s contract expired at the end of last month while Mojakhomo got retrenched the same month.